It is now (bad) news unfortunately that the bungling regime of Nigeria’s President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, this week renamed with arrogant and ignorant fiat the revered University of Lagos after Chief MKO Abiola, the late icon of the prodemocracy movement. By taking this action, this regime of incompetents has erased the University of Lagos off the history of Nigeria, just like that. Many of us have no problem with according Chief Abiola all the respect and honor he deserves; we have a problem with the lack of due process and are appalled that the resulting controversy has had the effect of tarnishing the names of both the great institution of Unilag and the benefactor, Chief Abiola.
I am loudly opposed of course to the process that brought about this ill-fated change. It makes a mockery ironically of what Chief Abiola fought for and assures the world that Nigeria’s experiment with democracy is a deadly farce. I was curious as to what the leaders of the now defunct prodemocracy movement thought of this bone-headed move. And so on May 29, 2012, I asked the following question:
This is the time to ask the icons and leaders of the prodemocracy movement, Professors Wole Soyinka, Olusola Adeyeye and Mobolaji Aluko, what do they think of UNILAG’s name change? Is this their idea of how Chief MKO Abiola should be immortalized? By the drunken force of fiat? Is this what they fought for? They should not be silent. They should please speak up and assure us that this is the way to go, that this is how MKO Abiola would have wanted it. The silence of the prodemocracy movement is deafening and embarrassing. Animal Farm did not look this bad.
On the same day, I received a swift response from Professor Bolaji Aluko which I have appended here for posterity. Professor Aluko is the current vice chancellor of the Federal University at Utuoke in Bayelsa State. The response speaks for itself and as always he has my respects:
Ikhide “Towncrier” Ikheloa:
You dey find trouble as usual…..
Since you ask, this is/are my opinion/s as a June 12 pro-democrat of yore and present Vice-Chancellor of a federal Nigerian university (at Otuoke) with respect of the change of UniLag to MA(L)U:
1. as a VC, I would have expected to be consulted by my Visitor at the very least, together with my Senate, student body, alumni, and especially Governing Council. [The current VC of UniLag, having just died recently – and to be buried tomorrow, with burial rites throughout this week – I would have waited on ANY announcement relative to UniLag until the mourning period is over, and certainly acknowledged the passing in the same speech.] See October 1, 2011 announcement of change of FUTY to MAUTECH below for example, one of eight (of the 37) federal universities currently named after “important personalities” (here) with ABU being the oldest (1962). There are 9 out of 37 such-named state universities.
2. in the Democracy Day 2012 Speech, I would merely have ANNOUNCED the possibility of naming one of the federal universities (not necessarily UniLag, which has no unique relationship with MKO – not being an alum, or founder or major benefactor, etc. – as a PROPOSAL to be considered more democratically. Maybe the stakeholders of one of the universities – including maybe one of the new ones – would have enthusiastically raised their hands. It appears that is what happened for FUTY to MAUTECH; again see below.
3. in addition to the above, in the time being, I would have named Abuja Stadium after MKO, and June 12 a Democracy Heroes national public holiday – although it is rather too close to May 29, in which case I might have boldly sacrificed May 29. The long overdue honor due MKO, arguably a Sacrificial Father of Modern-Day Democracy in Nigeria – should not be made to contribute any further divisiveness in the already “heated Nigerian polity” – as the Nigerian saying goes.
Of course, I am not President GEJ, so those are my views, and yours are welcome. There is still much time however, for presidential revision of priors
And there you have it….’Nuff said. I hope that you are not longer deaf from silence from me.
CHANGE OF NAME OF THE FEDERAL UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY, YOLA TO
MODIBBO ADAMA UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY, YOLA
The Vice – Chancellor, Federal University of Technology, Yola Professor Bashir Haruna Usman, on behalf of the Council, Senate, Staff, Students and the University Community, wishes to bring to the notice of the general public, sister Federal, State and Privately
owned Institutions, Public Parastatals, Private Corporate bodies as well as all friends and business partners of the University, that in the tradition of immortalising important personalities and historian of great repute, the President and commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigerian Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, has approved the change of name of the University from: FEDERAL UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY, YOLA (FUTY) to MODIBBO ADAMA UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY, YOLA (MAUTECH, YOLA), supposedly named after Modibbo Adama Ibn Hassan, a great scholar, an erudite educationist, an outstanding leader and the founder of the Fombina Kingdom (Now Adamawa Emirate Council). As the first ruler and founder of the Emirate, Modibbo Adama Ibn Hassan (1809 -1847) was one of the disciples and flag bearers of Sheikh Usman Ibn Fodio of the Sokoto Caliphate. By this therefore, the general public is enjoined to note the new name of the University and
be informed that all former documents and correspondences bearing
Federal University of Technology, Yola remain valid, and the change of name takes effect from 1st October, 2011.
Alh. Ahmed Usman W/Chekke